The Clearing is, by no means, an edge of your seat thriller. It's simple and contrived. But it does make a point and it does give us a glimpse of another reality.
The main protagonist Wayne Hayes (played by none other than Robert Redford) is your stereotypical man living the American dream – complete with a peaceful Pittsburgh estate, wife (Helen Mirren) who hasn't worked a day in her life, dog, two grown children, and a mistress. On a day like any other, the unexpected happens which shatters all illusions of the perfect American dream. As Wayne drives out of his garage in his sheik talking luxury something-or-other he is accosted by a man who claims to be an old friend named Arnold (Willem Dafoe). The man hands Wayne an envelope of illicit photos taken of Wayne's wife. Out comes the gun – and the rest of the story (which I won't entirely give away).
While Wayne is transported in the trunk of a car and dragged through a forest at gunpoint, his wife, with the help of a probing FBI investigation, unravels a life underneath outer appearances – suspicions, secrets, inadequacies, and what can happen to a person in the pursuit of the American dream.
Typically, a film like this is about good vs. bad, where the good guy is abducted by the bad. But this film is different. This film is about the haves vs. the have nots, and what drives a person to do the things they do. Be it kidnapper or kidnapped, wife or mistress, this is the type of film in which you never really relate to one specific character and yet, you could imagine yourself in everybody's shoes.
Special DVD Features:
-Commentary by director Peter Jan Brugge, writer Justin Haythe, and editor Kevin Tent,
nothing new here, you've seen this in most DVD Special Features packages before.
-Six deleted scenes with optional commentary, I enjoyed watching these segments